To understand the history of OAR, you must first know the history of the Hiyu Coolee Hiking Club. Founded at Seattle College in 1939, by Fr. Frank Logan, S.J. The club's name, "Hiyu Coolee", was borrowed from the Chinook language, meaning "much walking." From its origin into the 1970's, being a Hiyu was the highlight of hundreds of students' college years. The club mascot, a four-foot totem named Chief Hiyu was an essential part of these early days and attended many hikes, club member initiations, and later, weddings.
Though the student club was inactive for several decades, the Alumni branch of the club (consisting of up to 350 members) still planned hikes, trips and other gatherings. In the fall of 1999, a SU financial services representative and Hiyu Coolee alumnus, Steve Keogh, along with students Jon Lott, John Seaman, and Patricia Sierra-Mauriz re-founded the student branch of the club. The club offered 1-2 day hikes per month. Sometime around 2001, the Hiyu Coolee Hiking Club started offering trail building, rafting, and rock climbing trips making it obvious that a new organization needed to form. The Club won the "on the move" award recognizing exceptional growth and impact on the campus community in its first years, but by 2005 membership had fractured and all but dwindled.
Under the umbrella of the University Recreation department, a program was created in 2008: Outdoor Adventure Recreation honoring the students efforts that had come before. The new OAR integrated several outdoor-related student clubs into one comprehensive outdoor leadership program, offering regular trips in the areas of: bike, climb, service, snow, trail, and water.
The OAR program now runs an average of 30+ trips per quarter, led by more than 25 student leaders with advanced training in group facilitation, wilderness medicine, risk management and incident response, and environmental stewardship. OAR also hosts several certification courses and outdoor skill workshops throughout the year.